Last night, the Senate passed legislation by unanimous consent that clarifies the FAA's ability to responsibly implement sequester spending reductions. This bill ensures that the FAA can adopt a "Cut this, not that" approach to prioritize its spending at a time when all agencies can and should be finding areas of wasteful, non-essential spending to eliminate from their budgets.
This legislation was passed late at night when most senators had already left for the weekend, in an effort by Democrats to avoid drawing attention to the issue. After the FAA announced its decision to furlough air traffic controllers, which led to widespread flight delays, the Democrats spent the week scrambling to find a way to reverse these consequences. They originally wanted to raise taxes to address this manufactured crisis. When the proposal to raise taxes was rejected, they proposed budget gimmicks to avoid spending reductions. Finally, they settled on a plan to prioritize spending.
Now that they recognize that evaluating spending priorities is the most responsible way to implement the spending reductions from the sequester, we can hope that this focus on spending priorities will become the new standard for reducing spending in Washington. Americans know that the federal government has a spending problem and a transparency problem. Instead of solving these problems with growth-killing tax increases, budget gimmicks, scare tactics, and late-night votes, it is time for Democrats and the Administration to join Republicans in an effort to responsibly set spending priorities for the federal government as we push to balance the budget.